Depression is a terrible condition that can cause severe damage to your health, body, mind, and brain. When depression happens, it can lead to mood lowering, thereby causing anxiety, sadness, loss of interest in activities, agitation, restlessness, lack of concentration, and weight loss. While physical and emotional abuse is the chief cause of depression, other circumstances like smoking, lack of sleep, and social media may also be responsible. If you’re diagnosed with depression but don’t want to take any drugs, here are 20 ways to fight depression without medication.
1. Find Out What’s Causing You Depression
So many things cause depression. For every person going through this health challenge, there is something responsible for triggering it and changing your mood for the worse.
To deal with your depression and start the path to recovery, find out what is causing it in the first place. Is it bad weather, allergies, something you eat, or a particular lifestyle choice? When you know what is causing your depression, it will be easy to deal with. You can start by avoiding that thing entirely.
2. Set A Daily Schedule Or Routine
Experts have advised that setting a routine for daily activities can help in the fight against depression. Depression forces you not to have a plan and makes things worse by throwing your entire personality structure upside down.
When you set a schedule for yourself, it works against the health situation’s needs to grow inside you. Having a daily routine will also make you happier as you will become more efficient and productive.
Thirty minutes of walking every morning is a powerful antidepressant to help you fight depression without medication. When you exercise, it promotes blood flow and circulation to every part of your body, including your brain. The more blood you have entering your brain, the better it functions and promotes a positive mood.
Exercise also helps to trigger endorphins and serotonin release, which are the body’s natural antidepressants responsible for lifting your mood. Some of the best exercise for depression includes running, walking, weight lifting, yoga, etc.
4. Improve Your Eating Habit
The food you eat can also affect the way you respond to life and the effect of depression on you. If you find out you are depressed or having symptoms of sadness, changing your diet will be a good start.
You need to reduce artificial sugar, processed flour, and carbs from your diet and replace them with protein, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables. The best food for people dealing with depression is fatty fish, flaxseed, nuts, and dark and green leafy vegetables.
5. Get More Quality Sleep
Sleep plays an essential role in our mental and emotional biology. To have proper thinking and avoid symptoms of depression, you need to get some good sleep.
Many experts agree that good quality sleep is one of the best ways to fight depression without medication because sleep disorders are core symptoms of depression. So the more rest you get, the more you release yourself from the hold of depression.
6. Express Yourself Through Talent Or Art
Art is life. To create art, you will need to make use of the core part of your brain that controls powerful and positive emotions. So, if you don’t want to take tablets upon tablets of depression drugs, an alternative is to engage in talent or arts as an escape.
Music is at the top of this list. Listening to music can free up your mind, increase positive vibes, and promote good mental health. You can also participate in drawings, colorings, and other forms of art, depending on your interest.
7. Grow A Sense Of Optimism In Everything
Since depression feeds on negative taught, you can fight back by growing a sense of optimism. Symptoms of depression show that your body responds to unfavorable mental activities and warning you to be careful.
The more optimism you have about almost everything around you, the more you train your brain to rely on and believe in hope. Your desire that better things are coming your way will make you feel better.
8. Stay In Touch With Others
One of the most potent weapons of depression is making you avoid connections with other people. Depression makes you feel that connecting with people will bring sadness, and you could even become a burden to them.
Getting in touch with other people will improve your mood, increase your survival rate, and help you grow a positive conscience. You’ll share your story and get some of those disturbing thoughts out of your head.
9. Avoid Alcohol And Smoking
It’s interesting to know that alcohol and smoking is usually the first thing people with depression want to do. That makes sense since they both give you immediate relief, but when they wear away, your negative thinking returns, and you’re back where you started.
Alcohol and nicotine in cigarettes interfere with neurotransmitters and other parts of the brain required for proper thinking that prevent depression. Avoiding alcohol and smoking will not only empower your mind to fight depression but will result in overall better health.
10. Serve Other People
If you have time in your hands and dealing with depression, one of the best ways to fight depression without medication is to help other people. Serving others in need helps to put your mental capacity to work and challenge your mind to do great things.
While serving others as a volunteer or community support personnel, you’ll make new friends, learn new skills, advance your career, and improve on your social and communication skills.
11. Set Goals
People who are depressed get worse when they think they can’t accomplish anything. It’s a terrible thing to feel because humans are wired to build things and create, and when depression prevents you from achievements, you go down even more.
Setting goals is one of the most effective ways to fight depression without medication. However, you need to start small with something you know you can quickly achieve, like doing the dishes. Once you successfully reach a small goal, graduate into something harder until you’re able to make enormous feats. Put your mind to work and get busy with stuff.
12. Challenge Your Negative Thoughts
Negative thoughts are the depressed person’s greatest enemy. While depression may cause several severe symptoms in many people, it is also very deadly, claiming thousands of lives every year. For example, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between 15 and 29 years of age, as records show that half of all suicide deaths are due to major depression. Also, more than 800,000 people die every year due to depression.
Death from depression is mostly caused by negative thoughts that are allowed to germinate. You can fight depression effectively by challenging your negative thoughts. It won’t be easy, but when you’re consistent, you’re going to get positive results.
13. Get Away From Social Media Or Reduce It
People dealing with depression should either reduce social media or avoid it altogether. Social media promotes fake life, unrealistic expectations, and destructive tendencies. Studies show that social media sites like Facebook are the leading cause of depression among teens. Not getting any likes for a post or a negative comment by someone who doesn’t like you can trigger depression symptoms that can lead to suicide.
To fight against a depression without medication, you will need to avoid social media, at least for now. Leaving social media will reduce anxiety, help you get more sleep, and reduce hyperactivity. Social media is also guilty of making people fall into a severe state of low self-esteem.
14. Change Environment By Going On A Vacation
People sometimes develop symptoms of depression when they’ve lived in the same place for too long. Chemical pollutants, natural disasters, childhood traumas, stress, and relationship issues can trigger depression symptoms and make you feel terrible about yourself.
If you suspect that a particular place or location insights your memory and leads to depression, it would be best to avoid that place as much as you can. Taking a vacation to a faraway place to see different cultures, experience lifestyles, and connect with nature can also help you fight depression so you can get better.
15. Improve Relationship With Your Siblings
Unhappy relationships with people can lead to depression, especially your siblings. Research shows that people who don’t go well along with their siblings before the age of 20 are more likely to become depressed later in life.
Keeping relationships with siblings is quite easy if you’re ready to make a change. Respect is the most important thing at this point. You need to respect everyone for who they are and never judge them. If you don’t respect your siblings, they are most likely going to avoid you. Don’t bring back things from the past, let go of grudges, keep in touch as often as possible, and be pleasant whenever you’re around them.
16. Slow Down On Some Medications
Most people take different medications for several ailments, and it’s not a bad thing. However, if you want to fight depression without medication successfully, you will need to slow down or avoid some drugs.
Research shows that certain drugs like Anticonvulsants, Statins, Anticholinergic Drugs, Benzodiazepines, Parkinson’s Drugs, Beta-Blockers, etc. may cause you to be depressed. If there are alternatives to these drugs that don’t include depression as a side effect, you can talk to your doctor about it. If there are none, then reducing the drugs or dropping them may be the only solution to avoid a catastrophic effect of depression.
17. Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar has been the subject of critical studies lately. Health experts are trying to discover the connection between refined sugars and depression, and the results are alarming. Sugar is more addictive than cocaine, and that addiction may lead to depression. Inflammation is a significant issue for people with depression, and sugar causes inflammation.
There is no better way to avoid depression due to excessive consumption of refined sugar other than quitting. To remove sugar from your diet is simple. Find an alternative replacement, pick healthier desserts, choose quality carbs, and read labels before eating anything. While refined sugars may cause depression, complex sugars found in fruits will lower the symptoms, so note that.
18. Get Some Sun
Sunlight is good for Vitamin D, and people with a low amount of the micronutrient have been linked to high levels of anxiety and depression. Walking in the sun promotes energy generation and an active mental state, so the more energy you get, the better your mood.
There is also something called seasonal affective disorder (SAD). It’s a kind of depression that happens at the same time or period every year. Experts suggest that spending time in sunlight is one of the best ways to fight SAD. Sunlight also promotes blood circulation, better sleep, strong bones, and lower blood pressure, all of which will reduce depression symptoms.
19. Socialize With Positive People
When you’re depressed, the last thing you want to do is stay around negative people. They will make you feel bad about yourself and see the worse about life. Negative people will trigger the most dangerous aspects of your depression and make things very bad for you.
You need to socialize only with positive people to raise your hope and make you feel good about your life and condition. Positive people are always optimistic and energetic, and they will infect you with their awesome vibes. Even if your partner or sibling is a negative person, you will need to avoid them while trying to heal from your depression. When you feel better, then you can get back to them.
20. Do Something New
Many people have been able to fight depression without medication by doing something new. Your brain is a powerful organ that responds to all actions and is responsible for everything happening within you.
When you engage in something new, your brain likes it. It begins to form new neurological paths to store the incoming information so you can access it when you need it. That action helps to suppress mood that leads to depression, thereby making you healthier and happier.
The above-mentioned ways will help you to fight depression without the use of medication.
Aleksandra Nico, Psy.D., is a Psychologist and Editorial Assistant for Whatsdalatest who writes about mental health, relationships, human behaviour, and health. Aleksandra is passionate about helping others make well-informed choices to support and improve their physical and emotional well-being.